Coronavirus, Oil, and Kansas : Planet Money Oil prices are way down. We follow the story from an outbreak in China, to a meeting in Vienna, to a small-time oilman in Kansas. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

Coronavirus, Oil, and Kansas

Coronavirus, Oil, and Kansas

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OPEC started in the 1960s when a bunch of oil-exporting countries got together and asked themselves: Why are we all competing with each other? Why don't we just carve up the market and let the profits roll in? So they formed a cartel. And it had been working pretty well — until this weekend, when something went horribly wrong for the cartel, and the price of oil fell almost 25%.

In this episode, we follow the plunge in oil prices from the viral outbreak in China, to a secret meeting in Vienna, to one guy who runs a little mom-and-pop oil business in Kansas — all to find out why this happened, and what exactly this price crash means.

Music: "Larks at Sunrise" and "We Float Remote."

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